UCC scientist becomes first Irish person to win major US physics award

A warm congratulations to our esteemed colleague Prof Séamus Davis for his fantastic achievement of becoming the first Irish recipient of the prestigious Buckley Physics Prize for his work in the field of quantum physics, to read more follow this link to UCC article. You can listen to Prof Davis on our episode “Quantum Worlds” as part of our IPIC Podcast series “A Little Light Listening”.  There you will also find other episodes covering the exciting world of photonics.


Rockley Photonics Unveils Next-Generation, Higher-Density Laser Spectrophotometer Chip for Wearable Health Monitoring

IPIC Industry partner, Rockley Photonics, have gone live with the below Press Release sharing details of their development of what is believed to be the world’s first micro-transfer-printed (mTP) silicon-photonics-based laser for commercial applications.’   Aaron Zilkie (CTO Rockley Photonics) commented on some particular fruits of engagement with IPIC referencing the ‘development of mTP lasers, work which started with Brian Corbett’s groupand the pitch shrink – innovation from Frank Peters, which impacts miniaturizing the size of and increasing the density of our laser arrays.’

This groundbreaking achievement is expected to allow Rockley to further increase the density and reduce the size of its high-density spectrophotometer chips — which are already the world’s smallest for broadband infrared wavelength laser spectrometry (covering 1000 nanometers of spectrum) and are smaller in area than LEDbased solutions currently used in wearables.

This advancement could potentially have a significant impact across a wide range of applications, including the design of exceptionally small wearable devices for the detection and measurement of multiple biomarkers. New silicon-photonics-based biosensing chips using mTP technology are expected to be available in the first half of 2024. The new chip technology should have no impact on the upcoming launch of Rockley’s Bioptx™ biosensing band nor on any current-generation products that Rockley and its customers are developing.

With this breakthrough in the mTP of silicon-photonics-based lasers, Rockley has dramatically increased the laser density of its photonics integrated circuits (PICs) for biosensing, creating what it believes to be the world’s highest-density broad-wavelength laser spectrophotometer chip, surpassing its own previous achievements. Moreover, the mTP process is expected to reduce  manufacturing costs and enable thinner, smaller footprint and higher-density chip designs. These attributes are powerful benefits for use in consumer and medtech devices and could facilitate the integration of Rockley’s biosensing technology into future tiny wearables.

Leveraging the mTP process, the new PIC technology will integrate a laser-generating “membrane” with a thickness of only 4 microns. The potential applications for this higherdensity and smaller-footprint chip technology extend beyond biosensing and health monitoring into other areas, such as ultra-small wearables, clothing, or XR/VR/AR headsets and glasses.

This mTP breakthrough is the direct result of Rockley’s multi-year partnership with the Tyndall National Institute at University College Cork in Ireland, X-Celeprint Limited, and the Irish Photonics Integration Centre (IPIC), with funding support from the Irish government’s Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund (DTIF). The project started five years ago with a focus on developing a custom mTP process for Rockley’s silicon photonics platform and has involved a multidisciplinary team of world-class engineers and researchers. This technology, along with many other Rockley innovations, is backed by a robust multidisciplinary patent portfolio of over 200 issued patents and 295 pending patents in total.’

“Applying the micro-transfer printing process to the production of integrated lasers is a huge breakthrough that we believe will have a tremendous impact on wearable biosensing and on the photonics industry as a whole,” said Dr. Andrew Rickman, chairman and chief executive officer of Rockley. “We arguably have some of the most sophisticated photonics technology in the world, and this unprecedented level of miniaturization raises the bar even further. By creating biosensing chips that are smaller, lower-cost, and more efficient, we can continually improve our wearable biosensing products and deliver novel, relevant, and more powerful ways to monitor our health.”

“I believe that this next-gen, heterogeneous integration platform will lead to several significant technological advancements, including higher densities of lasers, increasingly smaller chip sizes, and ultra-high-volume manufacturing,” said Aaron Zilkie, chief technology officer of photonics at Rockley. “The team has been working on this project for years, and we are extremely excited to have reached this important milestone. We are grateful for the close collaboration we’ve had with our research partners and for the funding support from the Irish government and its Science Foundation Ireland and Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund.”

For further information on Rockley Photonics see rockleyphotonics.com


IPIC Industry Event – Photonics 4 Disruptive Innovation

IPIC’s Annual Industry Workshop 2022 was held at UCC’s, Devere Hall, on Thursday, 19th May 2022. Along with welcoming colleagues from academic centres across Ireland, we welcomed many of our industry collaborators to share details of our ongoing research projects, meet PhD and Postdoc poster presenters, and hear about our emerging start-up opportunities.

During the mainstage presentations we heard from Dr. Helen McBreen (IPIC Governance Committee Chair and Partner Atlantic Bridge) on the outcome of IPIC’s SFI review in late 2021. In summary a lot achieved, with the reviewers commenting that IPIC’s impact for Ireland as being ‘outstanding’ and also reflecting positively on IPIC’s Education & Public Engagement programme, encouraging further growth and expansion of the activities. The audience heard from Prof. Paul Townsend, IPIC’s Centre Director on the Centre’s forward momentum, which was followed by updates from Prof. Louise Bradley (Trinity College Dublin) on the new Catalyst Theme – Nanophotonics, and from Paul on the Catalyst Theme – Quantum, which will be led by Dr. Emanuele Pelucchi. We heard from Emerge@IPIC awardees, Xing Ouyang on ChirpComm and Zhi Li on Monolithic Integration Based on Pyramidal InGaN Micro-LEDs for AR/VR Displays. A call for applications to 2022 Emerge@IPIC was opened, with a closing date 19th August 2022, any queries should be addressed to Dr. Patrick Morrissey, IPIC Operations Manager.
Dr. Carl Jackson (Entrepreneur) shared with us his journey from Tyndall labs to start-up formation and exit, and how to learn from all experiences, successes and challenges, within the tech innovation space. We heard from Explorer programme 2022 participants, Lorenzo Niemitz on his project Medguide, and Celina L. Li on her project OTMD and experience on the programme.

The event was closed with awards for Best Publications, Impact, EPE and Best Posters.

After 2 years of mostly remote connections, it was great to meet colleagues and friends in-person, we look forward to many more in-person events.


National Broadband Ireland – Imagine the Future competition

IPIC’s Paul Townsend is delighted to meet with young artistic minds in participating on a panel of judges (along with RTE’s Ryan Tubridy) in assessing primary school children’s creative responses to National Broadband Ireland’s (NBI) competition ‘Imagine the Future’.   The students interpretation can be via a piece of sculpture, a photo, a painting, a song, a short movie or even a dance!   The concept is asking the children to think about how they see us living our lives in the future, how they see transport, school, community, hospitals, etc. evolving.

Paul Townsend leads our Optical Communications Theme of 30 researchers, if you would like to know more please contact us at info@ipic.ie

If you would like to know more about this and other NBI competitions, please click here.


World Quantum Day 2022

Today, we are delighted to join quantum scientists from all over the world, to celebrate World Quantum Day.

Building on the success of last year’s event, this year we are delighted to share our podcast A Little Light Listening, hosted by Dr David McGovern, IPIC’s Senior Business Development Manager. This special episode dedicated to Quantum Worlds will delve into quantum technologies, their impact on our future and the quantum landscape in Ireland.

David will host the following special guests:

Prof. Seamus Davis, Professor of Quantum Physics, University College Cork, Oxford University & Cornell University
Prof. Elena Blokhina, Associate Professor, School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, University College Dublin
Dr Emanuele Pelucchi, Head of Epitaxy and Physics of Nanostructures (EPN) Group, IPIC and Tyndall National Institute-UCC

Listen to the podcast here.

World Quantum Day aims to promote the public understanding of Quantum Science and Technology.


independent.ie ‘Ireland’s photonics industry continues to grow at pace’

On 3rd April, Anna-Marie Turley of Enterprise Ireland reported on independent.ie detailing how Ireland’s photonics industry is developing vital technology innovations, in areas of robotics, high speed broadband and technologies in the health-tech space, thus positioning photonics as a vital part of our lives now and into the future.

She comments “Globally, photonics is a critically important sector and an area in which Irish companies and educational institutions continue to thrive.

From playing a pivotal role in AI and security, the role of photonics in our daily lives will become increasingly pronounced.

With the right environment and supports in place, Irish-based companies delivering innovative solutions in this space are perfectly positioned to become market leaders, and Enterprise Ireland is proud to support them.”

Anna-Marie is the department manager for Retail, Consumer and Online at Enterprise Ireland.

To view this news piece in full follow this link.

04.04.2022 - 20.05.2022

Photonics 4 Disruptive Innovation

This workshop, taking place in-person in Cork on Thursday, 19th May, will present the latest disruptive developments in photonics research, industrial collaborations, new ventures and training. It is organised by the Irish Photonics Integration Centre at Tyndall National Institute, in collaboration with Photonics Ireland.

The workshop will include a networking lunch and a presentation session followed by a networking/poster session, where our researchers and engineers will share the latest breakthroughs and emerging market opportunities.

Applications areas will include displays, marine, MedTech, optical communications, sensing, as well as many others.

For more details please contact info@ipic.ie


DCU spin-out, Pilot Photonics raise funding of €1.8m

Congratulations to DCU spinout Pilot Photonics, on successfully raising €1.8m funding. This success is built on the commitment and collaboration of research teams within Dublin City University, Tyndall and the Irish Photonic Integration Centre.

The Irish Times have reported, Pilot Photonics’ ‘novel “comb laser” technology, using its patented “gain switching” technique allows for the generation and manipulation of waves of light with exceptional precision and the creation of multiple lasers from a single device. Combining this with a semiconductor processing known as photonic integration, means Pilot’s devices are suitable for mass production and offer performance, size, cost, power, and stability advantages over traditional single wavelength lasers. The technology has multiple applications across the communications, energy, and aerospace sectors globally’.

For more details on this success, please click here to access Irish Times article.


IPIC and Raydiant Oximetry move closer in realising product to market

IPIC’s collaboration with Raydiant Oximetry is moving closer to the development of a non-invasive technology that will monitor fetal oxygen levels in real-time, for use during childbirth.   This technology will elicit greater information around whether or not a caesarian section is warranted.   Raydiant Oximetry and IPIC are working closely to expedite the delivery of this tech into clinician’s hands and critically into women’s experience of childbirth.

We are very proud of this partnership.   Raydiant Oximetry, CEO Dr. Neil Ray, a pediatric anesthesiologist, has commented on IPIC “They understood the timelines and were able to complete our first proposal within three months. Institutions in the U.S. were saying a year to complete that proposal.” and “In terms of cost, (Tyndall was) able to co-fund the cost of the initial proposal through its hosted centre, the Irish Photonics Integration Centre (IPIC), funded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI).   If you would like to read more, please click here.


Brillanté Photonics have announced the development of their super luminescent blue LED (SLED) device.

Congratulations to Brillanté Photonics who have launched their patented super luminescent blue LED (SLED) device. Brillianté confirm  these devices are  “super bright, narrowband, speckle free, small etendue illumination source“.   We wish the team continued growth and success.

10.12.2021 - 31.01.2022

Summer Internships 2022 – IPIC, Tyndall, MCCI & IERC

**Deadline for Applications is Monday January 31st**

This internship will allow you to work with renowned researchers at Tyndall National Institute, IPIC the SFI Centre for Photonics, MCCI and IERC.

Interns will be given access to world-class research environments, and also the opportunity to learn from award-winning scientists and researchers who are at the cutting edge of deep-tech research.

To support you during the programme and to give you a truly immersive experience, interns will be partnered up with a senior researcher that’s relevant to their chosen research area. They will receive a generous bursary while undertaking a 12-week research project complemented by a workshop series and learn about research commercialisation, communication and more.

The internship programme has been designed in a flexible manner for blended working that accommodates online remote learning as well as supervised lab access for each intern.

To be considered for an internship, students need to be enrolled as an undergraduate student in a Republic of Ireland based university or institute of technology from all STEM fields.

25 summer bursaries for the 2022 programme are available. Applications are now open, to find out more, apply today online.

View the programme’s Data Protection Notice here.

Discover more about the research areas the programme will offer at the Open Evening event which will be announced soon.


Brian Corbett awarded Institute of Physics, Katharine Burr Blodgett Medal & Prize, 2021

Brian Corbett, world-leading researcher from IPIC and Tyndall National Institute, has been awarded the 2021 Institute of Physics Katharine Burr Blodgett Medal and Prize.

The gold medal has been awarded for his identification and creation of breakthrough innovative photonic device technology solutions that have driven the development and growth of several startups, and major innovations by multinational companies.

On awarding the prize, the Institute of Physics (IOP) said: “Brian Corbett has raised visibility of Ireland’s high impact technology ability significantly on the world stage. He is an outstanding recipient for the Katharine Burr Blodgett Medal and Prize.

Brian Corbett has always demonstrated leadership in innovation and technology. He invented the technology that enabled the establishment of Eblana Photonics (2001) to commercialise a scalable laser manufacturing technology which drives down the cost of high-performance, single-wavelength lasers for diverse mass market applications. His work helped launch Firecomms, the first ever Irish startup to be acquired by a Chinese Corporation (ZJF). The acquisition included a €5 million investment in Firecomms’ engineering team in Cork, resulting in the growth of the team to ~30 today. He was also key to attracting X-Celeprint to establish their global headquarters in Tyndall in 2013, with X-Celeprint’s CEO accrediting the decision to the capabilities and vision of Corbett and his team. The company is developing and licensing patented Micro-Transfer-Print technology – a cost-effective and scalable manufacturing process for integrating microscale photonic devices onto silicon-based structures.

Not only is his work with startups and SMEs critical to the development of the Irish entrepreneurial and enterprise ecosystem, his partnerships with multinational companies have ensured enduring and fruitful relationships with companies such as Intel (as recognised by their 2013 Outstanding Researcher Award) and Seagate. Through his leadership and vision, more companies will spin out and grow – one is currently targeted on superluminescent LEDs.

On receiving his 2021 IOP award, Brian Corbett said: “I am truly honoured to receive this recognition and humbled to join all the previous prestigious winners of the IOP Katharine Burr Blodgett Medal and Prize, which recognises contribution to the application of physics in an industrial and commercial context.”

The team here at IPIC are really proud and send many congratulations to Brian on his great work!



Industry Engagement Impact Award

One of IPIC, University College Cork (UCC) and Tyndall National Institute’s most successful collaboration projects has won Knowledge Transfer Ireland’s prestigious 2021 Industry Engagement Impact Award.

KTI’s annual Impact Awards recognise significant achievements in the commercialisation of publicly funded research nationwide and engagement with research systems across the third level and other similar State research institutions.

In particular, the awards acknowledge and celebrate the Innovation Offices / Technology Transfer Offices (TTOs) and their staff on-the-ground who make this knowledge transfer and commercialisation happen. Key factors include scientific advance, commercial impact, and the role of TTOs in managing deal flow and driving technology transfer and licensing.

The winner of this year’s Industry Engagement Impact Award is a collaboration between Rockley Photonics – a leading global supplier of integrated optical chips and modules – and IPIC, the SFI Research Centre for Photonics in Tyndall at UCC.

Regarded as one of UCC’s most successful industry collaborations, the engagement has resulted in 11 commercial licences being signed in 2021. It also led to the establishment of Rockley Photonics Ireland in Cork, a venture which grew to 10 employees in 2021.

Rockley Photonics CEO Dr Andrew Rickman confirmed Rockley are “committed to continued growth and investment in Cork due to the collaboration with IPIC”

IPIC Centre Manager Dr Patrick Morrissey commented: “Investment in research helps us address today’s grand challenges, such as climate change and the health & well-being of citizens, while also creating opportunity for economic growth. Our partnership with Rockley is an example of this, where we are developing and deploying leading edge technologies, and Ireland is at the centre of this technology revolution.”

The win has been welcomed by Professor John Cryan, Vice-President of Research and Innovation, at UCC, who said: “This collaboration between Tyndall and Rockley Photonics showcases how industry engagement is at the heart of innovation at UCC, and how we take leading-edge research from UCC labs to the market through industry partnerships. I congratulate the teams involved in both UCC and Rockley for creating impact from their research.”

Dr Anthony Morrissey of UCC’s TTO added: “This award is a recognition of UCC Innovation’s commitment to supporting UCC and Tyndall researchers with their industry engagements, and to enabling the delivery of impact from excellent science. Rockley continue to be an excellent industry partner for our photonics researchers at IPIC.”

Dr Sally Cudmore, Interim Director of Innovation, UCC, said: “I am delighted that the project from Tyndall and Rockley Photonics has won the KTI Industry Engagement award. This one of UCC’s most successful and enduring industry engagements in terms of technology transfer. UCC Innovation has been part of the successful partnership by enabling the flow of ideas, IP and impact from the IPIC team to Rockley over the last 4 years. This award recognises the hard work of the research and management teams in Tyndall, IPIC, Rockley and UCC Innovation and I would like to thank all involved.”



Cork Science Festival

Cork Science Festival, Science for Everyone took place 6-14th November.  This year’s festival was an online program of free public engagement events, open days, science tours, talks, exhibitions, shows, workshops and school events.   IPIC were delighted to participate and engage with members of the public curious about science.   In particular, IPIC’s EPE Officer, Dr Caitriona Tyndall along with Conal Murphy, PhD student, delivered an online workshop on creating your own spectroscope to children at Togher National School, Dunmanway.   The children had a lot of fun learning about the science of light, discussing rainbows, visible and invisible light spectrums, etc.   If you’d like to see more around this event with the school, please click here.


OPTICA selects 12 Entrepreneurs to Watch, meet IPIC’s, Dr. Sanathana Konugolu Venkata Sekar

OPTICA (Optics and Photonics News) has just revealed their 12 entrepreneurs to watch, including SFI Research Centre for Photonics, IPIC’s Dr Sanathana Konugolu Venkata Sekar, who has co-founded BioPixS (est. 2020, an IPIC, Tyndall, UCC Innovation spinout).  BioPixS’ core product delivers a range of phantoms (stand-ins for human tissues) that simulate the interaction of light with tissue, reducing time and cost to develop high-tech biomedical devices. BioPixS’ phantoms also target the reduction of animal use in preclinical trials, providing parallel alternatives.

Dr. Konugolu Venkata Sekar explains “These phantoms serve a pressing need for validation of clinical methodologies, characterisations, calibration of instruments, and standardisation of protocols and lifetime surveillance of clinical devices. Our mission is to be a one-stop solution for all biophotonics standardisation needs. BioPixS will spur innovation and fast track the next generation of biomedical tools.” For more on BioPixS, follow this link.

BioPixS is part of European projects VASCOVID https://vascovid.icfo.eu/ and TinyBrains https://tinybrains.eu/, fasting tracking biomedical device development to market.

Sanathana is currently a Senior Researcher and Biomedical Theme Coordinator at IPIC Biophotonics@Tyndall. His current research work includes the development of next generation microcamera based in body diagnostic/surgical guidance tools, upconverting nanoparticle for deep tissue imaging and immuno-histopathology, GASMAS for neonatal lung monitoring, next generation time of flight spectroscopy for wearable applications.

For further information on OPTICA’s Entrepreneurs to Watch, click here.



21.09.2021 - 11.11.2021

IONS Ireland 2021

(l to r) Alesandra Carmichael Martins, UCD & Andrea Liliana Pacheco Tobo, Tyndall UCC

IONS Ireland 2021 is scheduled to take place virtually 9-11 November, hosted by Student Chapters at IPIC, Tyndall, UCC and UCD. IONS Ireland (International OSA Network of Students) aims to offer an interactive learning experience for optics and photonics students at all levels; including those interested in pursuing such studies.

Some conference highlights:
Students have an opportunity to present their research to peers.
Technical sessions: Tissue Imaging and Applied Spectroscopy; Optical Communications; Integrated Photonics and Optoelectronics; Vision and Applications of Visual Science.
Professional development training, including the exploration of career development opportunities.
Opportunity to engage with leading researchers in the field.

Conference registration is now free! Please click on this link to register.

There are lots of opportunities to network and learn, including OSA Chapter Special: The Wonderful World of Optics, post-conference (in-person) networking event (with travel grants for best poster/presenter), etc.

For further information on the event please visit IONS Ireland 2021